This is my work-life balance on maternity leave

7 Feb 2019 | by Maggie Duncan


As SBPs we are always on the go and have a to do list the length of our school fields, so what do we do when we need to take some time off? For this SBM, the time off came in the form of maternity leave. It has come at an inopportune time as being in a maintained school it is financial year-end and budget setting time. So, the answer for me is always to use a keeping in touch (K.I.T.) day.

I am a bit of a control freak. I have a fantastic team at school and they are all more than capable of running the school business side without me for a while, though I cannot fully let go!  I am in awe of those mothers that take a full year off and don’t give work a second thought.  However, given that the educational landscape changes faster than superman on his way to rescue Louis Lane, I felt I might get left behind. (This pregnancy had already taken my attendance at the ISBL national conference in November 2018 away from me and my annual get-together with friends from around the country.) Now don’t get me wrong, this is a self-inflicted pressure, not one applied from school or colleagues.

So how am I ‘keeping in touch"?

  • My local SBM forum – LASBM – this has been a godsend.  By logging on whilst feeding or during naps I can converse with my local colleagues and see responses to questions that are being raised both locally.  The support I have received from this group has been amazing.

  • Social Media – namely twitter – much the same as above but on a national scale.  I can see thoughts and issues minute by minute by following key players in education and the vast array of SBPs that are now collaborating via this medium.

  • Emails – I left my notifications on my phone and didn’t put an ‘out of office’ response on.   I am much more ruthless with my delete button now but I can still respond to the important emails and don’t have to rely on colleagues to keep me up to date with school life.

  • Visits – luckily my 5-year-old attends my school so I can just pop in when doing the school run if needed.  The school have just appointed a new Headteacher after the very sad announcement of retirement of our current Head.  I popped in to process the contract etc, which gave my colleagues much sought after snuggle time with the baby.

  • Governors meetings – I am attending all Resources and Full Governors meetings so I can still contribute strategically.

  • Conference attendance – I am also booked onto LASBM, ISBL regional and NAHT conference  days to sharpen my skills, network and share best practice.

These have all been discussed and agreed with my SLT and more importantly it allows me to exercise my grey matter and have much needed adult conversation to keep me sane. 

I realise that this sounds like I am pretty much still working, but my new-born ensures that the majority of my time is spent with her snuggling, playing and her most frequent demand, feeding. 


I have decided only to take 4 months maternity and then my husband will take shared parental leave for another 3 months.  I am only term-time so will also get the holidays with her so feel I have made the right choices for my family’s work-life balance.